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Listen to Patients When it Comes to Statin Side Effects

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On December 30, 2002 we heard from Helene F. about an unusual side effect she associated with Lipitor:

"I have a question about Lipitor. Recently, our family physician prescribed Lipitor for my husband and myself. We both have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and take glyburide. My husband also takes Avandia. Since we started on Lipitor our blood sugar has been rising rapidly. Could this be linked to Lipitor?"

At the time there wasn't much information about such a side effect. Most physicians doubted that there could be any connection between statins and increased blood sugar. We immediately consulted Beatrice Golomb, MD, PhD, who has headed up the UCSD (University of California, San Diego) Statin Study about this question. She responded to our query about this controversial issue on Dec. 31, 2002:

"There are two studies that have shown unexpected significant increases in blood sugar or in hemoglobin A1C (which is an index of blood sugar over time) with statin use. Though increases are modest on average, some people appear to experience more considerable increases."

Even with this information, many physicians doubted such a connection. When we wrote about statins and blood sugar elevations, we received angry letters from doctors suggesting that we would scare patients off statins unnecessarily. We also heard from other patients:

"I am so glad I am not going nuts!
I was on Zocor and now on Lipitor for the last 3 years. I started with 40mg and my blood sugar went to 180. Dr. recently changed me to 80mg and now my blood sugar is 250.

He says I am CRAZY and it can't happen. It is nice to know even the prescribing information says it is possible."

On Jan. 21, 2002, E. K. wrote: "I was recently informed after a series of blood tests over a six month period that my blood glucose levels were elevated. I have been taking Lipitor for about a year or so and was wondering if that might be contributing to my rise in blood glucose levels. I don't want to take a medication that improves one medical situation (cholesterol) while making something else worse (blood sugar).

P.B. wrote on April 4, 2004: "I wish to inform you that I have been on Lipitor for about a year. I started developing leg pains and elevated blood sugar. I discontinued the Lipitor and my leg pains are going away and my blood sugar levels are coming down."

O.C. wrote on Feb. 27, 2007: "I was put on Lipitor & found it shot my blood sugar through the roof. My doctor suggested two courses of action; either double my dose of metformin to control my diabetes or switch to another drug, ie. Crestor or Zocor. Do either of these drugs affect blood sugar? Or should I stick with Lipitor & double metformin?"

Now, roughly eight years later, we feel vindicated.

A study in The Lancet confirms that statins may indeed increase the likelihood of developing type-2 diabetes 
(The Lancet, online, Feb. 17, 2010). Although the risk is not high, about 9 percent, it is real. People who are especially susceptible may, as Dr. Golomb pointed out seven years ago, see substantial increases in blood sugar when taking statins.

We bring this to your attention only as a precaution. If you do not experience a rise in blood sugar while taking statins, congratulations. That's great. If, on the other hand, your blood sugar levels start to go up and you become "prediabetic" or if you are a diabetic and your glucose levels become hard to control, please contact your physician and bring the new research to her attention.

And if you have a story to share about statins and blood sugar (or any other side effects) please share them below. Perhaps someday health professionals will listen more carefully to the stories that patients have to share about drug-induced side effects.

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Not only can statins do that, they will rob you of your memory and your energy making ability you have, by blocking Ubiquinone Production, a vital component in converting food into energy (ATP)...

I became disabled at 34 years old, after having been on Lipitor for 3 years. I was a fully functioning RN, full of energy, and a zest for life, now reduced to an angry, chronically fatigued, 41 year old man with chronic leg pain, 24/7.... Wish I would have known of Statins ability to cause Mitochondrial DNA mutations, might have been a valuable deterrent for me.... the benefits DO NOT outweigh the risks!! Take a folic Acid supplement, and a good multivitamin, eat lots of fresh fruits and veggies, esp the ones loaded with antioxidants.

Know that if someone stands to make a buck from you, they will sell you anything....Doctors are lied to every day by Pharm Reps.

I have been taking 2 blood pressure medications for almost 3 years. One is Atacand HT 16/ w/a diuretic (12and a half mg) and Toprol XL 25mg. Would either of these cause depression? And are there any side effects other than a mild fatigue that others have experienced?

I have never been on any sort of medication before (I am 58). When I switched doctors a year and a half ago (his practice is more holistic) he kept me on the medications as my bp , prior to the medications, had been 200/120. It is now in the 120's, 130's over 70's low 80's. However he did put me on vitamin supplements (lots of B vitamins), probiotics and Omega 3. I am just curious if these drugs can cause serious side effects long term. I am due for blood work over the next few weeks. My last blood tests were about 18 months ago. Thanks for any help!
Mairead

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: METOPROLOL IS A BETA-BLOCKER, AND BETA-BLOCKERS SOMETIMES CAUSE DEPRESSION. THERE IS NO CONCERN ABOUT LONG-TERM SIDE EFFECTS, BUT IF YOU ARE DEPRESSED, DISCUSS IT AT YOUR NEXT DOCTOR VISIT. YOUR PHYSICIAN HAS A NUMBER OF ALTERNATIVES TO PRESCRIBE. DON'T STOP THE MEDICINE ON YOUR OWN!

Are there foods that contain natural statins which might also elevate blood glucose ?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: THERE ARE NATURAL STATINS IN RED YEAST RICE, WHICH IS USED AS A FOOD IN CHINA BUT IN THE US IS USED AS A SUPPLEMENT. WE DO NOT KNOW IF RYR RAISES BLOOD GLUCOSE.

Being a type 11 diabetic, I have tried most all the statins with negative results such as muscle pain and increasing my cholesterol level. My Doctor and I agreed to try Liptor and zetia, with zetia by itself not effective, my cholesterol has gone down from over 200 to 171. However, I have muscle pain and a reduction in my sexual capability. I have reduced the liptor from 10mg to 5mg and will see the results in six months. Does Liptor affect your sexual life.? Thanks Gene

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: LIPITOR SOMETIMES AFFECTS SEXUALITY: http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2009/10/31/does-lipitor-lower-libido/

Mairead,

The side-effects of Atacand HCT and Toprol XL are few compared to the benefits of lowing your blood pressure. However both these medications can cause depression and fatigue. The effects likely will reverse if you stop the drug.

As with ALL side-effects report this to your doctor. There are many medications available that can lower blood pressure and also cause depression and fatigue.

With depressive symptoms your MD or DO should evaluate the extent of depression and eliminate other possible causes.

Bystolic is a newer beta blocker that may have less side-effects than Toprol. In general it is better to switch one medication at a time to determine which caused the side-effect. Bystolic has it's own side-effects see this site: http://www.josh-n-lisa.com/2008/04/18/from-toprol-to-bystolic/

Abigail,

Where ever you have fiber you have a natural way to lower cholesterol. Eat whole grains, beans (higher than many fruits in antioxidants AND high in protein). Protein will stabilize your blood glucose. Fiber will keep your belly full, and your colon regular. Replace other fatty foods with fiber and you might lose weight too.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: REMEMBER, NEVER STOP ANY BLOOD PRESSURE MEDICINE ON YOUR OWN. THIS CALLS FOR COLLABORATION BETWEEN PATIENT AND DOCTOR. STOPPING A BETA BLOCKER SUDDENLY COULD BE DANGEROUS.

Dr. put me on provastatin - used for about a year, then he doubled dosage to 40mg and my tongue swelled, lips swollen and sore. Now I am on an ACE inhibitor for blood pressure and am experiencing a miserable cough that I can't seem to get rid of..

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: COUGH IS A KNOWN SIDE EFFECT OF ACE INHIBITORS. TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR ABOUT THIS.

Gene,
It is a well documented FACT, that statins lower cholesterol by inhibiting an enzyme used in the mevalonate pathway. Along with cholesterol, this process in the mevolonate pathway is responsible for the production of among other things, Steroid Hormones, Vitamin D, Cholesterol, Dolichols, Ubiquinone (CoEnzyme Q10) All of these substances play a crucial role in day to day functioning. Here is a link to Dr. Gravelines explaination of sexual libido as it relates to statins: http://www.spacedoc.net/libido_statins.htm
CoQ10 is also well documented to help in controlling blood pressure. So I would consider this if you have high blood pressure.
http://www.westonaprice.org/Dangers-of-Statin-Drugs-What-You-Havent-Been-Told-About-Popular-Cholesterol-Lowering-Medicines.html
Very informative site. With well referenced data!

Having personally prescribed statins, and having taken them since my triple bypass 11 years ago, I found that I was intolerant to all but Vytorin 10/40, and even then had to eliminate dosage for a day or two if muscle aches and cramps persisted. However, I tolerated Vytorin without significant side effects if I took Vitamin D3 2000 IU (and Coenzyme Q10 200) daily, yet maintained my LDL Cholesterol below 70.

This is about blood pressure meds, quinipril in my case, and chronic cough from mucous production. After suffering for months with coughing and choking symptoms from quinipril, I have increased my intake of magnesium and the side effect has disappeared. I hope this may help other people who suffer the same side effects from beta blockers. I heard the Dr from Scrips talking about that very thing and I am so grateful for her comment!

As I have been taking ZOCOR (Simvastatin - sub for ZORCOR) for a year and a half, with each tablet being 80mg, I have had no side effects at all. The medication is doing very well controlling my cholesterol. After having my cholesterol checked, it is 161 and has come down from 342. I will continue taking this medication as long as it does the job. With this type of medication affecting my liver, I have also had my liver work completed and it's also normal. I am very satisfied with the results.

With borderline cholesterol numbers, I was prescribed 10mg. of Lipitor daily. After several months the inner corners of both big toes became painful and sensitive to the lightest touch. I put up with it for a couple of months before reporting it to my physician. He said it couldn't be due to Lipitor but to lay off the statin for three or four weeks to see what happened.

The toes gradually improved, and I went back to the meds, but at 5mg.daily. Even that low dose kept my LDL below 80 (from an original 125). A couple of months later the toes acted up. Back to the doc a few months after that. Off of the Lipitor for about six weeks this time before the toes felt normal.

After repeating the experience one more time, the doctor agreed that I was apparently having a neuropathic reaction to Lipitor. But he said it was probably worth the trade-off considering how effective the Lipitor was with me, even at such a low dose. Gradually, over the next several years, the neuropathy advanced, toe-by-toe, until all but the little toe were involved. I stopped the Lipitor altogether, but this time there was no neuropathic retreat.

I continue to experience tingling, pain, pins and needles, and a sense of cold even when my feet are simply cool to the touch. A university medical-school neurologist gave me three separate tests for nerve conduction and verified what we both already knew: I had peripheral neuropathy. Moreover, he said he was finding an increasing number of cases with patients who had been on statins longer term. (I tried Xetia once, and in 24 hours my pain tripled; same with an experimental tiny dose of Zocor.)

The neuropathy has slowly advanced to my fingertips (it's a permanently deteriorating condition now). I do believe that Dr. Golumb's studies have found that peripheral neuropathy can be a nasty side-effect for those on statins longer term. I'm taking two medications that help, but I'm stuck for life.

JH, some people are affected by BP med. Lisinopril by getting a persistent hacking cough for no apparent reason. The Dr (primary) at the VA knew about it. He also knew about Omeprazol (Prilosec generic) destroying some of the benefits of Plavix. He keeps informed about meds, a rare happening these days.

Why not email the pharm co. whose meds you are taking and ask them if cough is a side effect and if they have had any/how many complaints. They better not lie.

As for Statins, yes they do lower your cholesterol, the problem is that it is lowering your cholesterol, Ubiquinone, Dolichols and every other necessary substance that is produced via the mevolonate pathway. Whether you are an Evolutionist or a creationist, Man has had Cholesterol in EACH and EVERY Cell in our body since we were put on this planet.

Never did it become a problem, until we began to process foods and drink, leading to the Oxidation of cholesterol, which IS inflammation. You may not have a problem with your statin now, but rest assured, your body absolutely NEEDS cholesterol, Ubiquinone and the other substances I have mentioned above. What we need to worry about is the Inflammation, which causes the oxidation of cholesterol, and makes it sticky.

Statins do have Anti Inflammatory properties, which is the only benefit they provide. You can do better than that with Folic Acid, an entirely natural substance, which has great anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory properties, without any potential side effects.

I agree with you. I was taking Lipitor 40mg for 5 years. I was having back pain my hands hurt when closing them my whole body felt like it was aging fast. I even took a early retirement because I felt life was just getting to hard. After stopping Lipitor against my Doc's order's (yes, I even have a stent in my heart) the muscle pain did not go away.

It wasn't until I started taking D-Ribose that my life turned around. After one week I was able to get out of bed with no pain in the morning. I didn't need my weekly Cyro appointment and except for the hand pain which was reduced by 80% I am almost back to my old self. D- Ribose did it for me. Not until I took the Ribose did things change, stopping the Lipitor did not stop the muscle pain it was the D - Ribose 5grams 2 times a day.

I am taking lipitor 40 mg and also trilpix. I have problems with my right shoulder can not raise it when i sleep on my right side a lot of pain any comments? god bless.

My doctor wants me to go on statins, but after researching it well, I just can't agree to do. I am on Cozaar and HCTZ for blood pressure, very reluctantly. But he finally told me to try Niacin, so am now trying that in a no flush form, so will see if that helps. Not sure why Niacin would help??

My husband had a heart attack 6 months ago, and is on lots of meds, including Statins and lisonpril even though he has low blood pressure and his cholesterol is not high. He sure has side effects and is so tired, and out of breath most of the time. So I think they prescribe these things just in case??? And all the side effects multiply.

About a year and a half ago, my geriologist tested my cholesterol and found in it an acceptable range. But my cardiologist (I have had two heart attacks and triple bypass surgery, and have atrial fibrillation, but am now free from heart ailments with medication) said he wants his heart patients to have lower cholesterol levels, so he prescribed Lovastatin.

Shortly after, I developed all the symptoms of "turf toe" and developed extreme pain on the soles of both feet. I went to a podiatrist and he immediately said the pain was a side effect of lovastatin. My cardiologist agreed to take me off lovastatin for 90 days, but the pain persisted. My podiatrist tried several solutions, but has now given up. Could the pain be related to lovastatin?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE HAVE EVIDENCE THAT DRUGS LIKE LOVASTATIN CAN CAUSE SUCH PAIN, BUT NO GOOD RESEARCH ON HOW LONG IT TAKES TO GO AWAY AFTER THE DRUG IS DISCONTINUED.

May I ask you why you are on Trilipix? There is no clinical evidence that Trilipix reduces the risk of Heart attack or stroke. I think someone is making a buck off of you. Trilipix has not been shown to prevent heart attacks or stroke more than a statin alone, this is from Abbott's own web site. RUN!

I am a 74 year old male. Recent economic issues have forced me to use Medicare parts A,B and D without supplemental insurance.

I have had elevated lipids, open angle glaucoma and pre-diabetes for several years. Until recently I used Crestor (10 mg), Lumigan and controlled the pre-diabetes with diet and exercise. All of my follow up lab test results have been well within tolerances. At my request so I can save money, my doctor switched me from Crestor to Simvastatin (20 mg). Prior to this change my IOP gradually resulting in SLT surgery. For a variety of reasons my IOP is again out of limits and in addition to Lumigan I now use Timolol Maleate Ophthalmic solution.

My fasting glucose readings now vary over a wide range (95 to 115) with no apparent reason other that medication changes. Can the Simvastatin or Timolol be the source of this problem? I have doctor follow up visits scheduled soon and I'd like to have background information to support my questions.

Thank you.

I was taking Lipitor 10 mg daily until I had my pressure reading at the eye doc last summer. Normally 17, it was 26 and the doc was ready to put me on eye drop meds. At that time my Rx for Lipitor expired. When I went back two weeks later for a follow-up with the eye doc, my medical files from previous eye doc had arrived. My history showed a pressure of 17 or 18. When they tested my pressure again it was 18. So, the only change was not taking Lipitor for two weeks. I never got a refill and will never take any statin meds again.

Several years ago I had a friend whose Dr. put her on Lipitor. She was only 40 at that time. It wasn't long before I noticed she had problems with her memory. I gave her an article that you had published showing the results of a research Dr. in Calif. confirming memory problems. She showed it to her Dr. and his comment was "Didn't your friend see where it says in rare cases." He refused to take her off of the Lipitor. Thank goodness she changed Dr.s and was taken off lipitor.

My husband had Alzheimer's and developed a very dry flaky scalp. The only thing that eliminated it was Listerine. It also worked for my brother-in-law. I accidentally cut the top of my ear with a metal comb. It would not stop bleeding. 3 cheers for the pepper as it worked and I have used it since to stop bleeding. Keep up the good work.

Joann, I am glad your friend got a new doc.... her old one was making a patient out of her, which is what our #1 health care system seems to be the best at. I have said before to my doc, I may be one in a million, but it sucks when you are that one, and are forced to live the rest of your life disabled because of an RX..... Never again, and I am devoting my life to educating people as to the real causes/fixes of disease, and I don't make a buck off of it.

The constant tiredness is a warning to your husband. He should not, in my opinion, be on statins. However, he would have to get off them very slowly because otherwise he could risk having another heart attack. And then it will take his body something like six months to adjust to the new reality. And of course his cardiologist will have a snit if he comes off statins and immediately goes on 200 mg daily of Q10, but I guess in my experience this is the thing to do.

I came off statins too suddenly and abruptly and wound up three weeks later with so much happening that I thought I was dying: peripheral neuropathy shooting all the way up to my knees, three nights of horrible leg cramps and aching, dizziness, such exhaustion that I spent every afternoon sleeping, difficulty breathing and heart rate shooting up to the 90's if I so much as went six feet across the room and back again, and one bout after another of tachycardia and weird heart rhythms, none of which I'd ever had before in my life - plus right bundle branch block in my heart which was also new.

The heart symptoms now, seven months later, have disappeared entirely, the neuropathy at least hasn't gotten any worse, I have a high level of energy again, there is no more dizziness, my skin is silky for the first time in decades, and I feel great.

I also had the cough you mentioned until I changed to another drug. My doctor charted the cough side effect and my insurance approved my use of Azor which I have taken for two years with no cough or other side effects and my pressure stays around 117/70.

I wonder if the meds I'm taking can cause serious hair loss. I'm taking Diovan and Lipitor 10mg. I have a balanced diet and recent blood exams showed no abnormalities. Any advice re the hair loss will be appreciated. I should mention I'm a 70 yr old woman.

amk: Indeed Statins can cause hair loss, cholesterol is one of the major structural components of human hair. Please refer to: http://www.spacedoc.net/statins_hair_loss.html

I have been pre-diabetic for about 8 years. I also am being treated for hypothyroidism with synthroid and the labs are withing normal limits now. But after years of being nagged I relented and went on Simvistatin 20 mg po every hour of sleep. I believe the statin caused my fasting glucose to increase from 99-100 to 114.

Plus, in addition weight gain, male pattern hair loss/thinning, constipation, and extreme fatigue. When I go off this drug even for a few days, I feel so much better and the constipation clears up. These side effects are not worth it.

Being a 41 year old almost obese woman with extremely thin hair, and no energy is very much a downer. It just isn't working for me. It has decreased my quality of life. Clogged arteries are not as bad as diabetes. I will manage this with vigilant diet and exercise. I believe it best not to bathe my body in these liver clogging pharmaceuticals. They do have their place, but can be a risk for some patients. I have had to be my own advocate and not listen to the doctor's and their tunnel vision. Thanks for your support from the bloggers at people's pharmacy. These docs are real quick to blow you off and dismiss you.

I have taken Lipitor for 11 years, 20 mg once daily. Now I have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer stage four with metastasis to the lungs. I don't have long to live, or so I have been told. I have no family history of cancer. I never smoked, was normal weight, did not drink soda/carbonated drinks, ate moderately, drank socially, do not have diabetes, never had pancreatitis. I can not help but wonder if statin drugs do not contribute to pancreatic cancer in a subset of users.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: WE ARE SORRY TO LEARN OF YOUR DIAGNOSIS.

STATINS, INCLUDING LIPITOR, CAN CAUSE PANCREATITIS, BUT A RECENTLY PUBLISHED STUDY SUGGESTS NO INCREASED RISK OF PANCREATIC CANCER: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20697797

I am SO glad I refused to take the Lipitor which my Harvard/Yale - educated doctor attempted to put me on. She became obviously angry when I said "no," and conjured up horrible scenarios of health problems. I'm still here, and I'm done with her. I often think about my grandparents, who both had really high cholesterol, and that was back in the day when nothing could be done for it. They lived to be 90 and 96, both in reasonably good health, and neither had heart attacks or strokes.

And a strange observation. I went gluten-free, and that put my blood sugar from over 100 into the 80's, and also lowered my cholesterol readings. I maintain a strict gluten-free diet and it has helped many health problems.

I have bad muscle pain, weakness and fatigue from taking vytorin. sometimes the pain and fatigue is very severe. I stop taking the vytorin after about 6 weeks. This was in 2006, and I am still have problems. What treatment is there for me. I have read about CoQ10 and D-Ribose (what is D-Ribose?). Please help!

Susie, I am so sorry to hear of your Statin problems, unfortunately I have not found much in the way of help for my symptoms of Muscle Pains, Weakness, Myoclonus, Neuropathy, Chronic profound fatigue, etc. If you are over 40ish, I would recommend upping your CoQ10 to the more readily usable raw form, Ubiquinol, When Dr Golomb recommended this to me about 5 years ago, and to double my dose as needed, which I did until I was taking 200mg Ubiquinol, twice daily... this really helped my fatigue tremendously, but I am still plagued my these symptoms until I am back in bed to sleep again.

Another thing that really helps, is when I can sneak a 15-20 minute nap in now and again, recharges the Mitochondria... which really makes a difference for me on the days I nap. I would like to recommend to you a book I read not too long ago, by Shane Ellison, a former Medicinal Chemist, who became disgusted with what the Pharma industry was doing to millions of people for the dollar... putting profits in front of patients... his book sells for about 10 bucks on Amazon, called "Over the Counter Natural Cures"....
Wish I had a magic fix to report to you,
God Bless!
Chris

I am a type 2 diabetic on Metformin HCI 1,000mg, Avandia 8mg, then switched to Glipizide 5mg 2x daily . Was put on Coreg CR 20mg 1tablet daily, and Trilipix DR 135mg 1 tablet daily (I think this is a similar or byproduct of Lipitor).

I was having all kinds of bad side effects plus these other things:
Blood pressure was elevated, Blood sugars had shot up to higher levels, legs and feet especially my toes were, and still are, always tingly now and hurt. Legs cramp and hurt sometimes feeling like twin deadweights and numb. I told doc this but apparently he doesn't listen well so I stopped taking all but my Metformin and Glipizide, (6 refills. I refuse to go back to this doctor that just wants to spit out meds without any regards to the effects they have on me.

Will be looking around for another doc but I do "NOT" have much faith in physicians any more and can't seem to find a decent one that actually cares about my health and will work with me. Bahhh! I am sorry but Doctors do not always know best!

p.s. goes back to eating healthy foods especially certain vegetables and fruits which is most of my diet, and no they do not come from a can! I either buy fresh or frozen but prefer fresh. I also raise a garden each year so I know what goes on my fresh veggies etc.

a bit of an update:

There's this new doctor in town and she is strictly for women especially those who are diabetic but also treats other ailments and takes a bit of a holistic approach along with the usual meds, a bit of a spiritual approach, and believes in aroma therapy, massage, and therapy pools too. I am going to check her out and see if she can take me as a patient. Her office is in a health center that has all sorts of nice things so it would be very beneficial! Woooot!

My ex-husband bought me some gluten-free noodles to try out. He agrees that maybe that kind of pasta would be better for me so I am in the process of using them. I kind of suspected that wheat products, breads, pastas, cereals might effect my diabetes and my cholesterol intake.
O.o

p.s. if anybody has suggestions or remarks they would like to add I would be glad to hear you out.
Thanks!

20 years ago Israel reported Simvastatin was a porphyrinogenic drug and should be used with extreme caution in patients with hypercholesterolemia since they may have a latent porphyria. My family has hereditary coproporphyria. One of my brothers took a statin after bypass surgery and experienced muscle pain and an elevated CPK.

I warned him about about him possibly having the porphyria and he is taking the lowest possible dose of a statin now. However, he may be at risk if he ever combines the statin with another drug which ups the risk of drug complications in porphyrias. His doctor blew off the report of porphyria in the family despite the fact porphyria is reported with rhabdomyolysis.

Doctors have been trained to believe porphyrias are so rare they should never look for them despite several drug-induced disorders related to porphyrias. The final product of porphyrin metabolism is heme, an important component (prosthetic group) in several biochemicals besides hemoglobin--- including myoglobin, P450 drug metabolizing cytochromes, respiratory chain cytochromes and biochemicals that counter the effects of free-radical damage.

It is my opinion the porphyrias have been buried to protect the pharmaceutical and chemical industries. I am especially concerned with the reports of pancreatic cancer with statins since drug-induced pancreatitis is reported with several statins and acute and chronic pancreatitis are complications of porphyrias. There is some evidence of a link to eugenics to porphyrias, especially regarding the issue of epilepsy and Nazi euthanasia.

Drug-refractory epilepsy is a major clue to porphyria. We have sporadic cases of deaths from drug-refractory epilepsy in the family, a report of a febrile seizure, a case of hepatocellular carcinoma (another disease associated with porphyrias) and early onset dementia. There is a Bermuda triangle in porphryia medical research between researchers, NIH and the mass media. Information just disappears.

I was on various statins for a number of years and they all caused problems with muscle pain and weakness. 5 years ago I was told I was type 2 diabetic, I'm not on medication for the diabetes, I test my blood glucose regularly and it's usually anywhere between 5 and 7.5...last week my gp told me ...after a diabetic review that my blood glucose was better than a non diabetic.... I stopped the statins 9 months ago because of the pain in my legs... and have since found out that statins can cause your blood sugar to rise and give a false reading ... now I wonder if I am diabetic or if it was the statins causing the rise in my blood sugar?

I have just started using Lipitor 10 mg a day. I started it beginning of December and got a cold at the end of December. I have been sick for over a month and a half and have a very bad cough. I've never been sick for so long in my life. Could the cough be a side effect of the Lipitor?

My husband has been on lovastatin for five weeks.

One day he started having severe pain in his belly. He complained of acid reflex like symptoms.

The pain continued to get worse. We went to the ER and they found he had a severe case of Pancreitis

Some times brought on by Medicine reaction. The doctors took him off the medicine.

Has there been any other complaints? I know in our area there has been.

His Pancreas was causing so much pain his hospital stay was five days and they said it could last another week.

When he went to the ER his Lipase count was 4224. When we left it was down to 80; his Pancreas was trying to digest it self.

Any info would be welcomed.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

Pancreatitis is a recognized side effect of statin-type drugs. In the official prescribing information you will find the following under lovastatin:

"Gastrointestinal: pancreatitis, hepatitis, including chronic active hepatitis, cholestatic jaundice, fatty change in liver; and rarely, cirrhosis, fulminant hepatic necrosis, and hepatoma; anorexia, vomiting"

My fasting blood glucose was 77. This was typical for me. I am underweight. After 5.5 weeks on 40 mg pravastatin, then a three week "rest" because I was so sick I could not make it to the MD, my FBG jumped to 92, with an A1C of 5.7. 20% increase. I have the lab work to prove it.

I also have persistent muscle weakness such that I can only walk in hiking boots.

No diabetes in my family.

Do not let any MD nag you into taking a statin unless you have clearly demonstrated CVD. Dangerous medicines.

Now I have to fear full blown diabetes. I never would have gotten this without the statin, given my weight and history.

Its not obesity that's causing the epidemic in diabetes. Its the pharmaceutical industry and their statins.

Big Pharma is getting rich selling them, and, even more profitably, the massive amounts of stuff you will need once you become diabetic. Meters, test strips, lancets, meds, special foods etc.

Statins are for those with clear CVD only.

High Cholesterol runs in my family and at 56 my cholesterol is 6.88. Two years ago I was prescribed Simvastatin starting off at 20mg now on 40mg nightly. About 18 months ago I noticed that I was becoming increasingly out of breath when climbing steep hills or stairs. This progressed to housework shopping, anything involving exertion of any kind and I became distressed as it was affecting / is affecting my normal activities.

I don't smoke have always walked everywhere and climbed stairs instead of using lifts. I no longer want to do anything as I'm so tired and can't be bothered as I can't catch my breath. I've been to the GP who dismisses the fact that it could be statin related. I also get terrible cramp and my big toes stand up. I have had pain in my left shoulder so bad that no over the counter medication resolves it. I thought that I had arthritis. My life has become a complete misery and I feel so depressed.

This is ridiculous surely my GP should investigate the link. I'm starting to feel suicidal because I feel I'm going crazy. It would be interesting to know if anyone else had experienced similar symptoms. Incidentally I stopped taking the simvastatin about a week ago and I'm going to monitor things myself.

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE: We suspect you'll find several other people who have had similar symptoms. We hope you start to feel better soon. Please do let your GP know that you have stopped the statin and why.

Have been on Simvastatin and immediately had post nasal drip and chronic cough. Went on for months. Dr. said my symptoms "weren't in the literature." She switched me to yet another statin to no avail. I stopped the statin and the cough is gone, a bit of the nasal drip remains but continues to lesson after only a week off the statin.

My cholesterol is 599, my LDL is 540 and yet, at age 66, my coronary arteries are whistle clean (by EBCT). My condition traces back to my great grandparents, both of whom lived well past 90 and never had a hint of heart problems. It turns out that about 20 percent of familial hypercholesterolemics, me included, have absolutely no problems associated with our astronomical cholesterol and LDL.

I've written to multiple "experts" about the significance of this, and the universal response is some form of "no one knows". "Genetics" is often thrown out, but of course "genetics" means nothing because no one knows which genes or how the genes manifest in protection. More likely, of course, is that there is only a weak association between cholesterol and plaque and no cause-and-effect.

If there were cause-and-effect, why should so many FHers have no plaque at all. The difference between association and causality is profound; cellphone usage and obesity rates associate (both have gone up), but it is almost certain that there is no causality. Cellphone usage does not cause obesity and obesity does not cause cellphone usage.

Wouldn't it be nice if medicine was a little more rigorous eliciting causality from the enormous pile of useless associations?

I had a reaction to cephalexin (Kefex) while on simvastatin and had to change to another antibiotic. My Doctor was not aware that this could happen. I noted in the literature that came with my next script that the reaction was possible.

The notion that cholesterol (unless it is extremely high, as with familial hypercholesterolemia) is a "bad" thing is being more and more held up to question. Inflammation seems now to be the more likely culprit in atherosclerosis, but of course this doesn't make good advertising material and therefore doesn't suit the pharmaceutical companies at all. If statins are causing your neuropathy, there is every likelihood that they are also causing other problems. For example, have you had a lung X-ray lately? You may have interstitial pulmonary fibrosis. Or what about your muscles? They aren't what they used to be, and not because of age.

I stopped statins on my own, got my old medical records which gave proof positive that Pravachol caused my pulmonary fibrosis (I am on oxygen 24/7 now, due to being put back on statins in 2009 after 15 years off them), and thanked my lucky stars that I did not ask my Mayo Clinic doctor for "permission" to stop the Zocor he had put me on a year earlier. He would never have assented at that time - but because of the past medical records I brought in, later lung function testing, X-rays, blood tests and other things he was forced to conclude that I am statin intolerant and says he would never, ever put me on statins again.

Had I not stopped but instead had listened to his insistence on my taking the "little bit" of Zocor (10 mg) - or, worse yet, had I listened to my local doctor's insistence that I raise the dosage to 20 mg per day - I would by now be dead. No question about it. Doctors don't always know best.

To clarify the last comment, even those of us with FH (my chol. is 599) frequently live to ripe old ages with astronomical cholesterol levels. My arteries are completely clear!! So if cholesterol is bad, and folks with 250 cholesterol are doomed, how come at least twenty percent of FHers have clear arteries even in our sixties and seventies? (I'm 66). I've written and visited cardiac experts and I'm here to tell you they have no ideas. What's worse, they don't care or at least aren't interested enough to investigate. There's too much money in just prescribing statins...

My husband went into the hospital 10/2013 with a "coldness" feeling in his chest. His bp was 154/100(never high before). All cardiac enzymes were normal. Had a cardiac cath, vessels completely clean, chol was 440, trig 1100. Left hosp with metoprolol 25 mg bid, losartan htz 50/12.5 1 qd, zocor 20 mg and tricor 145.

Lipids 3 weeks later chol 200, trig 250. Had repeat labs last week chol 690 trigl 3600. He follows a good diet now and has lost 15 lbs, walks 30 min a day. One of his meds was making him very dry and he could hardly swallow. Dr said to stop the losartan. Seemed to help. He pees all day and up 4-5 times a night (from the metoprolol?) bp has been in the 110's over 70's. Dr wants labs redrawn tomorrow.

His cholesterol and triglycerides are way WORSE now than originally. Lab error??? Could it be one of his meds doing it??? Have to see the dr. Wednesday. I just want to STOP all these meds for a few weeks and see what his numbers are. He has felt lousy since starting all these meds :(

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